Volkswagen says it’s keeping a close eye on the new Supercar Championship Superute category, considering its power-topping Amarok V6 as a fresh contender.
While there are no plans to enter the category this year, the brand says it has been in talks with Supercars and discussed homologating its all-wheel Amarok V6 to compete – though that’s also where some issues begin.
“We see it as an opportunity and we’ve been partnering with Supercars for the last three years for broadcast and signage opportunities and that market is really important to us. We know Amarok V6 owners have a higher propensity for motorsport than any other sport,” VW commercial vehicles marketing manager Nicholas Reid told Drive.
“We’re keeping a close eye on the Superutes category. The racing so far has been a mixed bag and there’s about 11 utes in it and it’s been interesting, but at the moment, we’re not looking to enter it.”
However, the only hurdle that seems to be stopping the German maker from joining the field littered with rivals such as the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Toyota Hilux and Holden Colorado, is homologating its all-wheel drive only eight-speed auto V6.
Rules stipulate that the utes use a race regulation manual six-speed transmission and rear-wheel driveline. Other additions include upgraded brakes, full roll cage, race-spec tyres and stiffer springs and shocks.
“One of the things we’ve been discussing is that if we jumped into that category we’d lose 4Motion [all-wheel drive] and the eight-speed automatic gearbox and also there’d be some parity [balance of power], and at the moment the V6 isn’t homologated in its current package.”
But the fledgling sideshow race to the Supercars Championship appears keen to get the Amarok into the series.
“They [Supercars] have said to us they will homologate it if we were to come in but at the moment we’ve got our own super ute running around, which is the car we put together for World Time Attack last year (pictured) and it creates a lot of attention. We’re doing that for the rest of the year and we’ll see what happens going forward.”
And Volkswagen isn’t the only German ute manufacturer looking at the series, with one source telling Drive that Mercedes-Benz - which will bring the only other competitor V6 ute to the market later this year - is also keeping a close eye on the category.
Competition between the two makes is also set to take-off on the showroom floor with VW accounting over 70 per cent of its sales to the V6 and Mercedes pinning its success on the new six-cylinder model.